Affirmation: I believe in answered prayer.
Faith, what does that look like to you? My husband says it’s “trust on steroids.” It has also been said the opposite of faith is not doubt but certainty. I am not certain. I have listened to others talk about their faith and their relationship with God or for Christians like myself, with Jesus. I have heard the stories of the “born again.” Many times I am filled with envy and always I am filled with quite a few questions. My faith journey has been slow and steady, climbing up, slipping down, ever hopeful that I don’t slip below my last starting place.
I have not found it easy to be faith filled. I have to work at it every day. I appreciate being told, “It’s the work of a lifetime.” I hope, too, that my lifetime is long enough to get me to a place where I can fully trust in God’s love and care for me and for my loved ones.
I love to read and hear the sermons about God’s bountiful love and care for us, His or Her children. There are many preachers who see God as this entity that only wants what’s best for us. And, they lead me to believe that His/Her best is also my best. There is where the difficulty lies. I keep wondering where martyrs fit in this picture of divine love and care. On February 22, 2011 a group of four Americans were captured and killed off the coast of Somali. They were sailing around the world since December 2004, on the yacht of Jean and Scott Adams. The Quest was their home, this couple from California. The two other Americans on board were Phyllis Macay and Bob Riggle of Seattle, Washington. When I first heard about Jean and Scott, they had been captured by pirates and were being held hostage. They were then surrounded by the US navy and other helping vessels but, before they could be rescued, they were shot dead.
I was truly inspired by their adventurous spirit when I first heard the story of their mission. I know there must be many people who have the same spirit and I just haven’t heard about all of them. But, Jean and Scott were in their 70s and they were sailing to remote parts of the world to share the word of God. Yes, I know a lot of people are missionaries and I am usually in awe of anyone who lives a life so far out of most people’s comfort zone. They were not what I consider young and here they were so far from their support systems. What would they have done if they got sick, or injured, or needed a dentist or as a friend commented to me, "If Jean needed a massage, or a facial?" Obviously, their mindset was very different than most people.
But, if they died doing God’s work, as have so many martyrs, why should I believe that Jesus will take care of me? Oh, yes, I would like to believe that. We don’t get everything we ask for, sometimes it seems like someone isn’t’ even out there. Thankfully, sometimes we get something even better than we could have imagined. I can recall several specific times in my life when I was praying in general for one thing and something so much better came along. It can take my breath away. When my oldest daughter, Melissa, was a single parent we, her father and I, prayed daily for her well-being. We didn’t know exactly what that would look like but we knew we didn’t want her and her children to endure undue hardship. We were there for them in every way we could be but we wanted her to be able to care for herself and her children. We wanted her to be independent and self-sufficient in every way possible. Our prayers were answered beyond our wildest expectations when she met Larry. Not only did she find someone amazing to share her life with but along with him came two wonderful new grandsons.
One day I was overcome with worry about my mom. I was at a loss about how to help her and she was not capable of helping herself. I was so overwhelmed with the responsibility that I simply turned it over to God. I prayed, “Lord, I do not know what to do. Please send help.” Then, I waited. It wasn’t long before the phone rang and right after that my family arrived, called and accompanied me to my mom’s home. A new “on call” physician arrived and before I knew it, mom was feeling better. I hadn’t even had time to stop and thank God for His/Her response. As I reflected later, I began to see the blessings that had been sent and then I had to choose. Was it just the universe stepping into support us? Would it have happened even if I didn’t say a prayer? Maybe, but I did pray and it gave me great comfort to believe the help we received was answered prayer. I want to believe in answered prayer. I know I will never understand it but I believe with every fiber of my being that prayer makes a difference. If I can tap into the belief that my prayers are always answered, in a way that only benefits me, think of the peace that can be mine. It has been promised, you know, Mathew 7:7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”
I believe God never leaves me, if I ask Him/Her to be with me. It is I who comes and goes. I believe that through my faith, I will be able to deal with whatever life throws at me. And, that whatever that is, through faith, it will be miraculously transformed into something good, maybe something great, something beyond my wildest imagination. I need to believe. I have chosen to believe. I have chosen the theology and doctrine that I grew up with. It’s not perfect but it enables me to live life with less fear and anxiety than I could without it. I believe it because I want to believe. That’s what most of my affirmations revolve around, what I want to believe. Yes, a loving caring God. I know this question has been asked and examined many times around topics even more horrendous than what Jean and Scott endured. Topics like: war, famine, child abuse, cancer and other life threatening or debilitating diseases. Perhaps, it’s not what happens to us, no matter how difficult; perhaps it’s how we perceive what happens to us? Perhaps if we practice trusting God, we can go to our death with dignity and grace regardless of the circumstances, knowing that this life is temporary and because of our faith, because of my faith in Jesus Christ, I will share in the glory of heaven. My faith and trust in Him, will secure me life everlasting, with Him and all the Saints and Angels. That’s why I believe and why I am still working on it.